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Jay-Z & Timbaland »

What do you get when you take the greatest living rapper and the greatest hip hip producer. You get one hot album. Sign the petition and lets make it happen.

by kenn on 5/06/2005 05:45:00 PM

YGs: Coming of Age

Source: BS


When Chris and Neef were nothing more than young artists sitting in limbo at Roc-A-Fella Records, not a lot of people envisioned them succeeding. That was until they heard the Young Gunz debut album Tough Luv. The album surpassed expectations, and was one of 2003's most slept on LPs.

Now two years later, Chris and Neef are back with their sophomore album Brother From Another. With a Swizz Beatz monster for their first single, "Set If Off," the duo is looking to take their career to the next level.

Neef chopped it up with BallerStatus to give fans a glimpse of the new album, as well as some insight on the situation brewing between Beanie Sigel and the State Property family.

BallerStatus.net: How do you guys think you guys have progressed since Tough Luv to now with Brother From Another?

Neef: I think we matured a lot on this album. Brother From Another is similar to Tough Luv, but in a lot of ways it’s different. We were on tour recording this album, so whatever we were around inspired us. Whatever we were doing on tour is what we are talking about on this new album. We got this West Coast joint with Daz on the album, which is crazy! We are trying to cater to the West with that song because they have shown us a lot of love, and we felt like we had to give them something special. But we have something for everybody on this album. We got the club bangers and the crazy album cuts, just like last time. As you know, the single is with Swizz [Beatz], "Set If Off," but we have another joint with him as well called "Beef." We also got Chad Hamilton on there like six times, who is our in house producer. I can't forget about Red Spyda; he has a heat rock on there too. As far as guest appearances, we got Foxy Brown, Memphis Bleek, Jay-z, Slim from 112, and Daz. Our own artist is on the album too. We have our own label know, Get In Where You Fit In, and our artist is Pooda Brown.

BallerStatus.net: Do you guys have any Just Blaze tracks on there? Because he did some crazy work on the last album.

Neef: Yeah, we are supposed to get a joint from him. We are planning on doing one more song for the album.

BallerStatus.net: You said you recording this album on tour. Now does that alter your approach at all from usually recording in a studio? Was it tough to adapt?

Neef: Nah, it wasn't tough to adapt. We get busy man, no matter what.

BallerStatus.net: What is your main goal for this album?

Neef: We already made our stamp in the game, and now it is time to sell some records. Nothing else makes sense. In this game, if you don't sell no records, you don't hold any leverage and you don't make any money. It's nothing until you sell some records.

BallerStatus.net: So the success of this album is going to be solely based on sales?

Neef: Yeah, we have to. We gave out the appetizer with Tough Luv, and now its time to get busy. It's time to put the muscle behind the hustle.

BallerStatus.net: With Tough Luv you guys had a lot of conceptual material and a variety of topics. What type of issues and concepts do you have on this new one?

Neef: We have a special joint about our homies on the album. Growing up in North Philly is crazy, so we lost another homie. One song is dedicated to him. The second single is with 112, and it's for the grown and sexy. Our first single "Set If Off," is a monster for the clubs. Something for the DJs to constantly bring back. Like I said, we have the West Coast joint, where we talk about everything that is poppin' over there. We have a variety, it's a big gumbo.

BallerStatus.net: Were you happy on how Tough Luv was promoted? Or did you feel it didn't get the push it deserved?

Neef: Yeah, because as we were coming out, the separation was starting. So everybody was doing their own thing. But this time, I feel that everything is together, and everybody is on their game. We definitely have our business together, because we are not letting them tell us anything. We have our lawyers, accountants, and managers all together in the right spots. We are just playing chess right now.

BallerStatus.net: Have you noticed a big difference between the new Roc/Def Jam and the old Roc?

Neef: No, not really. We are still dealing with the same people basically.

BallerStatus.net: One song that really stuck with me was the title track "Tough Luv." Now I've always wondered, how did that song come about? Because most groups would not put their inner struggles out there like that, so how did it happen? Did Chris write that verse and come to you?

Neef: Naw, it was my man LA, rest in peace. I was doing a show in Philly, and Chris was up in New York. When Chris and LA came back, I was talking to LA. He was one of my realest homies that passed, so he brought me to the car and played the song for me. I wasn't even supposed to be on the song -- Chris just did it -- but LA wanted me to write a response. He wanted me to tell Chris how I felt. So I went up to NYC, did my verse, and 20 minutes later, Jay came in the studio. He asked if I heard that joint that Chris did, not knowing I just did my response to it. I told Guru to play it and once Jay heard it, he went crazy. It was a good feeling though. That song was very deep, so it put a smile on my face.

BallerStatus.net: What was your initial reaction when you heard that song? Were you pissed off in any way?

Neef: Nah, I was just shocked because I never heard it from him. I just heard the record out the blue. He never came to me and told me his feelings, but everybody has different ways of dealing with things and expressing their feelings.

BallerStatus.net: And on that song you said that you weren't focused on the rap game in the past.

Neef: Yeah, I was into the street life. A lot of people talk about what they did in the streets, but I really lived that life. You can catch me in North Philly daily. You can pull up and find me, but I was in the streets a lot, and there is nothing cool about it; I'm not glorifying it. But if I'm not recording or doing any business, I'm in North Philly. In the past -- even though we were down with the Roc -- I still had to make money the way I was used to because we weren't making money like that at that time with the Roc. We were just waitin, so not everybody was cool with it, and they didn't agree with the direction I was taking. I wasn't feeling the surroundings at the Roc at the time. I'm gonna keep it real with you. When we came in, it was me and Chris. I thought we were just going to record an album, but then they came in with State Property, our stuff was on hold. So I wasn't really feeling that, and I used to stay away I never stayed away from Chris, but I would stay away from the whole situation. When it came time for the State Property 2 album, they needed songs. I think Beans and Peedi Crak were locked up, so they came to me and Chris, cause we had crazy songs. They put the "Can't Stop, Won't Stop" joint on the album, plus a bunch of other songs, and then it was time for us to shine. That was the appetizer to Tough Luv, and after that I had to go in. A lot of people thought I would never make it in the rap game, but I proved them wrong.

BallerStatus.net: Do you feel that people overlooked you, as Chris got a lot of the attention earlier?

Neef: Nah, because I taught him everything he knows, and he will tell you that. In Philly, I was Chris' older head. You know how an older head is someone who looks after you and teaches you some things? When Chris does good and people compliment him, I feel good. It makes me look good.

BallerStatus.net: You guys have slowly come up on the Roc. So is it sad to see it come to this, with the big split?

Neef: Nah, it's nothing. We gotta keep it moving, we can't be thinking about that. All of those guys are rich, it doesn't matter if they break up now, they made their money. I'm not gonna stress about what they went through, I'm still cool with everybody.

BallerStatus.net: Was it an easy choice to go with Jay instead of Dame?

Neef: They already knew where we were going. It wasn't hard to find out or figure out. We keep it trill.

BallerStatus.net: Do you think the media over hyped the split and made it seem personal between Jay and Dame?

Neef: Yeah, they hyped it up a little bit. But people grow up and mature, that is how it is.

BallerStatus.net: Let's talk about State Property for a second, because Beanie Sigel's mom did an interview with AllHipHop.com and she said that Beans is pissed that no one has come to visit him and State Property hasn't shown any loyalty. What is your reaction or comment on that and the whole State Property situation?

Neef: I can only speak about me, as far as that goes I speak for me and Chris all day and everyday, but I'm not really into that whole situation. When Bean's moms talks about that, she's not talking about Neef. She is talking about everybody else, and I really can't get into all of that, it's not for me to say. Trust me, Beans and his moms knows that situation does not involve me. Me and Beans were never tight like that; I'll just put it to you like that. So that whole State Property situation is for everybody else. I know in my heart, and they know in theirs, that the whole situation has nothing to do with me. I can't see Beans bitching about me not seeing and being in touch with him.

BallerStatus.net: I know Sparks said that State Property was more of a marketing thing than anything.

Neef: Yeah, it was put together, and things that are put together don't always work out. That is why me and Chris are so strong, because we were boys before we even learned how to rap. I have been doing this thing for nine years, and it was always a dream for me as a youngin'. But when I got in this game, it became a job. I didn't have the same love for it as I used to. Now I do it because I gotta feed my family. I still like hip-hop and I'll always be into making crazy music. I'll always be in the music game regardless, whether it be rapping or sitting behind a desk.

BallerStatus.net: Are you and Chris going to put out solo albums in the future?

Neef: Yeah, fo sure! As far as this rap game takes us, that is where we will go. Everybody has their favorite picks of who they like in the Young Gunz. If we do solo albums, or if Chris does one, it's just going to cater to the people that like him. They like the both of us, but some fans may like Chris more. So we'll do a Young Gunz album, but just have Chris on it, or vice versa. We are always going to be together regardless. Right now, I'm not even thinking that far. If Brother From Another doesn't pop off, then we don't even get solo albums. So I am just thinking about the new album now.

BallerStatus.net: What else do you have going on in the future?

Neef: We have the movie, "State Property 2," coming out April 13. We got our label, so we'll be working on that. We are always going to be in the streets crazy with mixtapes. Jay'z "Fade To Black" movie comes out real soon. We are also ready to go out on tour with Bleek and probably Foxy. The video is coming for "Set If Off." We are shot it in Cali. Besides that, we are just staying busy and promoting this album. Brother From Another drops May 24.

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